It is possible to state a fraction such as ¾ in words as follows: three fourths.

Can someone please let me know how to say ¹⁄ in words?

  • 2
    The reciprocal of x. One part in x. – Kris May 9 '18 at 9:34
  • To add on @kris's answer: one over x, or one divided by x. – JJJ May 9 '18 at 9:47
  • Thank you all. So I cannot say one x-th. Right? – MTMD May 9 '18 at 9:48
  • 2
    One over x is one of the most frequently used, especially in Calculus class. Edit: No you can't say one x-th. I have never heard anyone say this. – Stallmp May 9 '18 at 9:48
  • 1
    "An nth" is already well in use. So, it depends on the context: "In fact, the black holes took so much with an xth of a millisecond that they instantly reverted and became white holes." "... gas at position x. Leaving an xth of a tank so it can get back ...". – Kris May 9 '18 at 10:01

There are a number of options, and none are particularly preferred because the need to phrase this specific quantity in everyday English is not common.

So, in no particular order:

  • One out of x
  • One over x
  • One x-th

Choose whichever suits your needs or will work best for your audience.

  • 3
    Mathematician here! "One over x" is far and away the most common of those choices. – Brendan W. Sullivan May 9 '18 at 14:39
  • As a mathematician, would anyone in real life say “the reciprocal of x” for 1/x? I didn’t put it in because the notation makes this feels like an elementary or arithmetic context, as opposed to a more advanced or algebraic context, where I’d expect words like “reciprocal” to be paired with notations like x^-1. Not sure if I should add it as a suggestion to the answer or not. – Jane May 9 '18 at 14:45
  • It does depend on context. For example, if I were explaining how to solve the equation xy = 5 for the variable y (in terms of the other variable x), I might say, "Multiply both sides by the reciprocal of x." – Brendan W. Sullivan May 9 '18 at 14:53

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